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US remains committed to NATO’s collective defense — White House

First Deputy Press Secretary of the White House Olivia Dalton said that her country does not see the need to increase the level of combat readiness of its nuclear forces in connection with the statements of the Russian leadership

WASHINGTON, June 17. /TASS/. The United States remains committed to the principles of the collective defense within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but deems it unnecessary raising the readiness level of its nuclear forces in following recent statements on behalf of the Russian leadership, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton said.

"I would just reiterate, as we've also said in recent days, we've seen no indication nor reason to adjust our nuclear posture at this moment in time," Dalton stated.

"But we are also reaffirming — taking this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the NATO Alliance’s collective defense," she said commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statements on the deployment of nuclear warheads in Belarus.

She also noted that Moscow resorts to irresponsible nuclear rhetoric.

"So we are aware of those comments. As we've said before, we believe this kind of nuclear rhetoric is highly irresponsible. There's just no room for it. It is highly irresponsible," Dalton said.

Speaking at the 2023 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the first Russian nuclear warheads had already been delivered to Belarus and the entire batch will be deployed by the end of the year.

On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that at Minsk’s request, Moscow would deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, similar to what the United States had long been doing on the territory of its allies.

Moscow has already provided Minsk with Iskander tactical missile systems capable of carrying nuclear weapons and has helped Minsk to re-equip its planes to carry specialized weapons. Missile crews and pilots have undergone training in Russia.

At a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on June 9, Putin said that the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus would begin immediately after operations to prepare facilities for their storage are over on July 7 or 8.